David Beasley, United Nations World Food Program executive director (R), talks with the chief of pediatrics (L) at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Photo by WFP/Arete/Sadeq Naseri
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations World Food Program on Monday issued an urgent appeal to raise $6.6 billion to help 45 million people in 43 countries avert famine.
WFP, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, said in a report that without immediate emergency food assistance, tens of millions of people face starvation.
David Beasley, WFP's executive director, said the pending disaster is tied to the combination of climate change, wars/conflicts and COVID-19.
"It is as bad as you can possibly imagine," he told the BBC. "In fact, we are now looking at the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. The winter months are coming, we are coming out of a drought...the next six months are going to be catastrophic. It is going to be hell on earth. "
The WFP report said that "while COVID is undeniably exacerbating fragility around the world, manmade conflict is driving instability and powering a destructive new wave of famine that threatens to sweep the world. The toll being paid in human misery is unimaginable."
Afghanistan is becoming the world's largest humanitarian crisis. The report said that country's needs are surpassing those of the other worst-hit countries -- Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
In late October, the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a separate report that a record number of people in Afghanistan are facing hunger this winter due to government instability in the war-scarred nation and economic sanctions related to the Taliban takeover in the summer.
The WFP is calling on the world's billionaires to donate $6.6 billion to "reel them back from the precipice by providing a meal a day for each person for the next year."
Last week, Beasley and billionaire Elon Musk had a twitter exchange in which Musk said sell shares of Tesla and help -- if the WFP provides an accounting of exactly how the funds donated are spent.